With connected devices like Nest and Sonos breaking into the mainstream, the IoT has become one of the most-discussed tech trends of the last twenty years. But the IoT extends well beyond the home and consumer-level gadgets. Asset-heavy industries like manufacturing, logistics, mining, oil, utilities and agriculture have also begun to apply IoT systems to improve efficiency and results. With machines and specialized sensors collecting data at every step of production, the potential gains from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are enormous. Just in 2016 alone, startups bringing digitization to industry saw more than $2.2B of investment.
Large corporates have also been involved in M&A in the space. Recently, General Electric, for example, acquired IoT platforms Bit Stew Systems and Nurego, in addition to two large 3D printing acquisitions this past fall.
So far, the IIoT wave has been led by the old guard of industrial tech companies such as GE, IBM, and Cisco, who envision the IIoT as a core component of their future businesses. GE, in particular, pioneered the term “Industrial Internet” when announcing its $1.5B R&D commitment back in 2012.
But more and more startups are attacking the needs of heavy industry by developing sensors, cloud platforms, networking infrastructure, as well as machine learning software to extract insights from the deluge of data. Using CB Insights data, we mapped out the startup landscape within IIoT, with a new approach that categorizes companies by where they sit in the tech “stack,” starting from hardware all the way down to AI-powered analytics.
Note: While some companies may fit into multiple categories and parts of the stack, we mapped companies based on their primary use-case. This market map is not meant to be exhaustive of companies in the space.
The category breakdown is as follows:
Sensors & Connectivity
Connectivity — wireless network providers like SigFox and Ingenu act as the telecoms for the IoT age. Most companies here provide LPWAN (low-power wide area network) connectivity, which is popular radio band for IoT devices because existing cellular systems aren’t power- and bandwidth-efficient enough for systems sending small packets of data. Some, like Senet use the LoRaWAN spectrum, and others like SigFox work with ultra-narrowband specifically for low-power devices.
Sensors & Monitoring — some companies in this area are solely sensor or system on chip (SoC) makers like Ineda Systems, but the category also includes more “full stack” (but industry agnostic) sensor and monitoring platforms like Samsara, Helium, and Electric Imp.
M2M / Satellite — sometimes Industrial IoT assets operate in rural and less connected parts of the world. Satellites can be a more effective way for sensors to transmit data, and companies like Kepler Communications offer a space-based communication network. With similar advantages in isolated industrial environments, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is a more decentralized way to pass information between devices, and companies like Filament are applying blockchain architecture to do so with low-power industrial sensors.
Edge Devices & Connected Objects
Inspection Drones — startups offering drone hardware or image analysis services for industrial inspection. Some startups like Skycatch have individual use cases, such as construction. Recently, drone makers famous for their consumer drones like 3D Robotics have moved into the inspection space. While it’s mostly aerial drones for now, the category encompasses all types including underwater drones and pipe inspecting drones such as those made by RedZone Robotics.
3D Printing — leveraging materials science and robotics, companies like Desktop Metal and Carbon 3D are bringing the customization benefits of 3D printing to an industrial scale. 3D printing tech is starting to go beyond just prototyping tools to being production-scale for making parts, which is why corporate venture arms of GE and BMW are investing here.
- Industrial AR/VR — headsets and mobile AR specifically tailored for industrial settings and field service. Daqri and Atheer are well-funded headset makers that focus on enterprise and industrial settings. Others like Scope AR do similar work in field service using mobile and tablets, employing AR to highlight parts on industrial equipment while connected to support experts in real-time.
- Wearables — IoT sensors worn on the body in industrial environments. Strong Arm Technologies makes a safety wearable and some industrial smartglass makers like Ubimax and Upskill also have wearables offerings.
- Robotics & Exo — industrial automation robots along with exoskeletons that augment human abilities. Companies like Rethink and Righthand Robotics both make the classic arm-shaped industrial robots for manufacturing. Clearpath Robotics does warehouse robotics, as well as a host of ruggedized ground and sea-faring drones. And companies like Kindred and Sarcos are developing worker exoskeletons that can help handle heavy materials or be remotely operated for inspections.
- Universal Platforms & Edge Intelligence
Universal Platforms — cloud vendors here commonly market themselves as general platform-as-a-service (PaaS) companies that allow other IoT and IIoT companies to manage and maintain the capture of data from their device networks. This includes the mostly industry-agnostic platforms like C3 IoT and Altizon that do cloud analytics for industrial companies.
Fog & Edge Computing — computing done at the “edge” or closer to the sensor is a trending shift occurring within the IIoT architecture. Companies like Saguna Networks do edge computing (close to the point of collection), whereas a company like Foghorn Systems does fog computing (think a lower-hanging cloud that’s done on-site like a LAN). Both methods allow mission-critical devices to operate safely without latency of transmitting all data to a cloud, which can also save big on bandwidth.
- Applied Sensor Networks
- Fleet — sensor networks and solutions for connected trucking fleets. Companies like Veniam are focused on the connectivity aspect, where others like Vnomics sell optimization and vehicle monitoring technology.
- Oil & Gas — companies using connected sensor networks in the oil industry include GroundMetrics (locating wells), Tachyus (extracting oil and gas), and Aptomar (spill safety).
- Agriculture — companies like Blue River Technology and Farmbot are bringing robotics to agriculture. Others like Farmers Edge and Terravion are about capturing and analyzing farm data and tractor telematics for more efficient production.
- Smart Grid – startups in this area develop tech that enables more efficient distribution of electricity, gas and water, and often market to utility companies. Trilliant, Tendril, and BluePillar are smart-meter enabled solutions for utilities and large enterprises to manage usage and reporting.
- Factory — Eigen Innovations and the companies in this category are more vertical-specific platforms for manufacturing analytics. Eigen, for example, uses video and sensor data on factory floors to ensure process and quality control.
- Warehouse — robotic movers and RFID sensor systems that target the warehouse. Fetch Robotics, for example, does material transport on warehouse floors. Alien Technologies, one of the most well-funded startups in all of IoT, does RFID tagging tech for the supply chain.
- Advanced Analytics, Edge Intelligence & Protection
- AI, ML, Predictive Analytics — software that allows companies to find insights and derive predictive analytics such as when machines will need maintenance. Most companies in the category are like Maana and work by applying AI to mining machine data, but others, like Augury Systems, offer a full sensor suite that detects machine anomalies and offers predictive analytics.
- Cybersecurity — companies in this category develop cybersecurity solutions for IIoT and industrial control systems (ICS) in heavy industry. The IIoT has already suffered serious hacks; a German steel mill suffered “massive damages” after hackers accessed a blast furnace that workers could not properly shut down. Bastille Networks is one company that focuses on protecting the wireless transmission of IoT and RFID devices, and Claroty is a well-funded company working on protecting industrial control systems.
|Industrial IoT Market Map|
|Carbon3D||Sequoia Capital, BMW Group, GE Ventures, Google Ventures||3D Printing|
|Desktop Metal||BMW i Ventures, GE Ventures, Google Ventures||3D Printing|
|Norsk Titanium||Applied Ventures, Piper Jaffray||3D Printing|
|Digital Alloys||Khosla Ventures||3D Printing|
|XJet||Autodesk Forge Fund||3D Printing|
|Xometry||GE Ventures, Highland Capital Partners||3D Printing|
|Blue River Technology||Data Collective, Khosla Ventures, Monsanto Growth Ventures, Syngenta Ventures||Agriculture|
|Farmers Edge||Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mitsui & Co.||Agriculture|
|FarmBot||SYD Ventures, Muru-D||Agriculture|
|Maana||Frost Data Capital, GE Ventures, Intel Capital||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Uptake||Caterpillar, GreatPoint Ventures, Lightbank, New Enterprise Associates||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Sight Machine||O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, IA Ventures||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Falkonry||SparkLabs||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Alluvium||Bloomberg Beta, Lux Capital, IA Ventures||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Presenso||Microsoft Accelerator||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Augury Systems||First Round Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures||AI, ML, Predictive Analytics|
|Ingenu||GE Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures||Connectivity|
|Actility||Foxconn Technology Company, BPI France, Truffle Capital||Connectivity|
|Senet||City Light Capital, Harbor Light Capital Partners, Milestone Venture Partners||Connectivity|
|Cubic Telecom||Global Roaming, Qualcomm Ventures, Enterprise Ireland||Connectivity|
|Tempered Networks||IDG Ventures USA, Ignition Partners||Connectivity|
|Mocana||Shasta Ventures, Southern Cross Venture Partners, Trident Capital, Symantec||Cybersecurity|
|Bastille||Bessemer Venture Partners, Chris Rouland, Tom Noonan||Cybersecurity|
|LaunchKey||VegasTech Fund, RimRock Venture Partners||Cybersecurity|
|Claroty||Innovation Endeavors, Bessemer Venture Partners||Cybersecurity|
|Indegy||Magma Venture Partners, Shlomo Kramer||Cybersecurity|
|CyberX||Swarth Group, ff Venture Capital||Cybersecurity|
|Argus Cyber Security||Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Venture Capital||Cybersecurity|
|Nozomi Networks||Lux Capital, GGV Capital||Cybersecurity|
|NexDefense||Mosley Ventures, BIP Capital||Cybersecurity|
|ForeScout||Accel Partners, Pitango Venture Capital, Meritech Capital Partners||Cybersecurity|
|Eigen Innovations||BDC Venture Capital||Factory|
|RtTech Software||McRock Capital, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation||Factory|
|Veniam||Cane Investments, True Ventures, Union Square Ventures||Fleet|
|Greenroad||Balderton Capital, Virgin Green Fund, Amadeus Capital Partners||Fleet|
|Cohda Wireless||Cisco Investments and NXP Semiconductors||Fleet|
|Vnomics||Rochester Angels, Primary Venture Partners||Fleet|
|KeepTruckin||Google Ventures, Index Ventures||Fleet|
|FogHorn Systems||March Capital Partners, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, GE Ventures||Fog & Edge Computing|
|VIMOC Technologies||ET Capital Partners, Morado Venture Partners||Fog & Edge Computing|
|Nebbiolo Technologies||Undisclosed Investors||Fog & Edge Computing|
|OSIsoft||Technology Crossover Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers||Fog & Edge Computing|
|Xaptum||Jai Shekhawat||Fog & Edge Computing|
|MachineShop||Xchanging, Diebold, CSR||Fog & Edge Computing|
|Clearblade||Corsa Ventures||Fog & Edge Computing|
|Daqri||Tarsadia Investments||Industrial AR/VR|
|Fieldbit||Actemium, Axians||Industrial AR/VR|
|Scope AR||IDrive Ventures, New Stack Ventures, Presence Capital, Susa Ventures, Y Combinator||Industrial AR/VR|
|Upskill||CNF Investments, GE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Salesforce Ventures, SineWave Ventures, Work-Bench||Industrial AR/VR|
|Ubimax||Atlantic Bridge Capital||Industrial AR/VR|
|Atheer||Fang Group, FundersClub, Indiegogo, Lab IX, RONA Holdings, Shanda Group, Signatures Capital, Streamlined Ventures||Industrial AR/VR|
|Skycatch||ff Venture Capital, Avalon Ventures||Inspection Drones|
|Cyphy||General Catalyst, Felicis Ventures||Inspection Drones|
|PrecisionHawk||Intel Capital, Verizon Ventures||Inspection Drones|
|Aeryon Labs||Summit Partners||Inspection Drones|
|Flyability||Go Beyond Network||Inspection Drones|
|Kespry||Lightspeed Venture Partners, Rothenberg Ventures||Inspection Drones|
|3D Robotics||True Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Foundry Group, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures||Inspection Drones|
|xCraft||Mark Cuban||Inspection Drones|
|Filament||Bullpen Capital, Samsung Ventures||M2M / Satellite|
|Fleet Space Technologies||Horizon Partners, Blackbird Ventures||M2M / Satellite|
|Kepler Communications||Techstars, IA Ventures||M2M / Satellite|
|Magnitude Space||Undisclosed||M2M / Satellite|
|Satixfy||Catalyst Equity Management||M2M / Satellite|
|Tachyus||Founders Fund||Oil & Gas|
|Aptomar||Investinor, ProVenture Management, Statoil Technology Invest, Verdane Capital||Oil & Gas|
|Groundmetrics||Crescent Ridge Partners Ventures, Tech Coast Angels||Oil & Gas|
|Oseberg||Undisclosed||Oil & Gas|
|Square Robots||Kraken Sonar||Oil & Gas|
|Sky-Futures||Bristow Group, Commercial Drone Fund||Oil & Gas|
|Rethink Robotics||Bezos Expeditions, CRV, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, GE Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Prime Ventures||Robotics & Exo|
|Ready Robotics||RRE Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Sagamore Ventures||Robotics & Exo|
|CloudMinds||SoftBank China, Foxconn Technology Company||Robotics & Exo|
|GreyOrange Robotics||Blume Ventures||Robotics & Exo|
|Clearpath Robotics||Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, iNovia Capital, RRE Ventures||Robotics & Exo|
|Kindred Systems||Bloomberg Beta, Data Collective, Innovation Endeavors||Robotics & Exo|
|Sarcos||Schlumberger, Microsoft, GE Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures||Robotics & Exo|
|SeeGrid||Giant Eagle||Robotics & Exo|
|Righthand Robotics||Matrix Partners||Robotics & Exo|
|Ineda Systems||Qualcomm Ventures||Sensors|
|Mythic||AME Cloud Ventures, Data Collective, Lux Capital||Sensors & Monitoring|
|3DSignals||Grove Ventures||Sensors & Monitoring|
|Konux||New Enterprise Associates||Sensors & Monitoring|
|Electric Imp||Lowercase Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Rampart Capital||Sensors & Monitoring|
|R3 Communications||Undisclosed||Sensors & Monitoring|
|Particle||HAX, SOS Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures||Sensors & Monitoring|
|Smartron||Intel India Maker Lab||Sensors & Monitoring|
|Blue Pillar||Allos Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners, Claremont Creek Ventures||Smart Grid|
|Trilliant||Missionpoint Capital Partners, Zouk Capital, GE Healthcare||Smart Grid|
|Enlighted||Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers||Smart Grid|
|Tendril Networks||Engie New Ventures, GE Healthcare, RRE Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners||Smart Grid|
|Enbala||EnerTech Capital, Export Development Canada, GE Ventures||Smart Grid|
|AutoGrid Systems||Foundation Capital, Voyager Capital, E.ON||Smart Grid|
|Space-time Insight||Opus Capital, EnerTech Capital||Smart Grid|
|Trilliant||MissionPoint Ventures, Zouk Capital||Smart Grid|
|Tendril Networks||VantagePoint Capital Partners, RRE Ventures, Bregal Energy||Smart Grid|
|Blue Pillar||Claremont Creek Partners, Allos Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners||Smart Grid|
|Enbala||EnerTech Capital, Obvious Ventures, Chrysalix Global Network||Smart Grid|
|Greenwave Systems||Craton Equity Partners, Westly Group||Universal Platforms|
|Arrayent||DCM Ventures, Intel Capital||Universal Platforms|
|C3 Energy||InterWest Partners, Makena Capital Management||Universal Platforms|
|Ayla Networks||Cisco Investments||Universal Platforms|
|Worldsensing||Cisco Investments, Endeavor Global||Universal Platforms|
|Cirro||Frost Data Capital, Miramar Venture Partners||Universal Platforms|
|Mnubo||McRock Capital, White Star Capital||Universal Platforms|
|Altizon Systems||INFUSE Ventures, The Hive||Universal Platforms|
|Azeti Networks||Wim Elfrink||Universal Platforms|
|Flutura Solutions||The Hive, Vertex Ventures||Universal Platforms|
|Relayr||Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers||Universal Platforms|
|Fetch Robotics||O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Softbank Capital||Warehouse|
|Simbe Robotics||Cisco Investments||Warehouse|
|Omni-ID||GE Ventures, Trillium International||Warehouse|
|Alien Technology||New Enterprise Associates, Rho Ventures||Warehouse|
|Fourkites||SunBridge Partners, Advanced Equities Financial||Warehouse|
|Rufus Armor||Make In LA||Wearables|
|Human Condition Safety||American International Group||Wearables|
|ProGlove||Bayern Kapital, Intel Capital||Wearables|
|Strong Arm Technologies|